DOT to begin work on bypass
Preconstruction to begin next month
By DAN PARSONS, Staff Writer
In anticipation of beginning construction, the N.C Department of Transportation held an informational meeting Thursday at Beaufort County Community College for residents who will be affected by construction of a U.S. Highway 17 Washington bypass. Preconstruction for the $192 million project, officials say, is scheduled to start next month.
“Early construction, which will begin next month, will include primarily the relocation of utilities like power lines and some sewer lines,” Paul Newman, Washington bypass project manager for Flatiron, said at the meeting. “We will also be driving piles for bridges over U.S. 264 and 15th Street. These early stages we anticipate not to affect traffic flow.”
About 30 local residents showed up to hear DOT representatives and the project manager from Colorado-based Flatiron Constructors discuss details of what is the middle section of a three-part project. The 6.8-mile section discussed will stretch from Price Road south of Chocowinity to Springs Road north of Washington.
Construction will begin from both ends and progress toward the center of a 2.9 mile bridge over the Tar River and adjacent wetland areas. A method of construction using horizontal cranes called gantries will allow construction to minimally impact those wetlands because it does not require the construction of temporary bridges.
B.J. Reckman, a resident of Cypress Landing, was concerned about the planned height of the new bridge over the Tar River, which is set at 45 feet, 20 feet lower than the standard for bridges along the Intracoastal Waterway.
On the Chocowinity end of the project, Newman said he hoped that construction of a bridge over the existing highway 33 would be completed by December of this year. Work on the bridge over highway 264 he hoped would be completed sometime during the summer, but could not give an exact date. The bridge over the river would be completed in the latter part of 2008 into 2009, he said.